Pebble mulches

A mulch of smooth pebbles not only improves the appearance of each indoor plant, it delays drying of the soil above the roots, so the plant needs less frequent watering. This decorative mulch also adds weight, so the pot is not as likely to be knocked off a sunny sill or stand. Pebbles are not always easy to find. If you live where there are no rocks, no stones, and no pebbles (not even on the beaches), you may find choice pebbles from an inch to two inches across along the shoulder of country roads. One local gardener in my area says, ``When I visit West Virginia, I always bring back a stone for my plants.''

A woman who mulches with pebbles collected seven from the shore of the Susquehanna in August, when the water was low. Two years ago, we were in the right spot at the right time and collected more than a dozen small pink pebbles along a lane where freshly excavated sand had been spread to fill a low strip. We also have two black, a dark red, and several off-white pebbles.

Starting just inside the rim of each pot, we fit a ring of pebbles snugly, with smaller pebbles toward the center, leaving about half an inch of space around the base of each jasmine, aloe vera, and kalanchoe tomentosa. Of course, the larger the pot, the bigger the pebbles.

The texture and color of each plant's mulch pebbles contrast beautifully with the green leaves and bright blossoms.

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